In the Spotlight in SaddleBrooke… The Chathams – Part III

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Lew and Ann spent their honeymoon in San Francisco trying to obtain a passport for Ann with her new name on it. Thirty days later it was on to Japan where Lew was stationed as the Air Wing Commander on board the U.S.S. Midway. Almost immediately after their arrival, Lew went to sea leaving Ann and the two boys in the middle of a typhoon! While in Japan Lew and Ann flew to South Korea to adopt a little girl whom they named Melissa.

Lew’s next orders as Commanding Officer of the oiler U.S.S. Hassayampa took them to Oahu, Hawaii. While there Ann gave birth to their third little boy the day before Lew went to sea on his ship.

While Lew was deployed to the Western Pacific he received orders to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk as its Commanding Officer via marine engineering training at the Idaho Falls Nuclear Training Center. Ann packed up the Hawaii house, readied the four children and flew to visit her father in Salem, Oregon. There she bought a van, then drove from Salem with their four children ages 9, 7, 2 and 7 months old and a Japanese cat to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho. Most of the drive was in a snow storm! There she settled the family into a condo until Lew arrived for his school.

Over the years there were 17 moves for Lew and Ann, including Jacksonville, Florida, the Philippines, Washington, D.C. and second assignments to Japan and Hawaii. In almost every case Lew went ahead and plunged headlong into his new assignment while Ann packed up the house and kids and followed. Her goal was always to take care of the children and turn the new house into a home. A goal (according to Lew) to which she was always successful.

Lew retired in 1987, after 31 years of naval service, as a Rear Admiral with two stars. He officially retired in 1999.

During their marriage Ann worked as a surgical nurse in every community into which they moved. She had 37 years as an operating and recovery room nurse.

Lew loves to golf, read and keep up with current events and friends. Ann loves to golf and is a State Course Rating Captain for the U.S.G.A. Four times she was the SaddleBrooke club champion!

They have four children and four grandchildren. Their children have achieved quite illustrative careers on their own: one is a Special Forces Green Beret; one is a high end chef; one is in property management/real estate and one is a stay-at-home mother who does free-lance writing.

I was shocked to hear that the longest they have lived in one place prior to SaddleBrooke was a mere four years! However, they built their home in SaddleBrooke in 1994 and have been full-time residents since 1999. According to Ann and Lew they are, at long last, growing roots.